Fun and Free Things to Do in Niagara Falls

The spectacular views aren’t the only pleasures at Niagara Falls USA. From scenic hiking trails to classic works of art, this is how you see Niagara Falls on a budget.

PLAN A SELFIE SCAVENGER HUNT

There’s no better time than the fall season to snap that perfect Niagara Falls shot — it’s quieter, so it’ll be easier to snag panoramic photos. There are plenty of photo-worthy spots in Niagara Falls State Park proper, but there are several other drool-worthy views around the county (hint: they don’t call them Great Lakes for nothing!). Use our roundup of the best views of the Falls and the most scenic spots in the area to plan your Falls photo safari.

father and son hiking in niagara falls

TAKE A HIKE TO HEAVEN

The area surrounding Niagara Falls, New York, is home to some of the most scenic trekking trails in the nation, with every route wowing with magnificent views and peaceful sounds of nature. The official Niagara Gorge Trail System offers levels for every wanderer, too, from breaking a sweat along the Whirlpool Rapids to strolling the manicured lawns of Niagara Falls State Park.

BE FREE AS A BIRD

Niagara Falls’ abundance of feathered creatures makes the region a wildlife wonderland for bird lovers. The Falls are a haven for birding, with species ranging from gulls in colossal colonies to geese enjoying the view during migration. You may even spot a bald eagle; over the past decade, the American icon has made a comeback in the region. Get that camera on zoom!

EXPERIENCE NIAGARA FALLS AT NIGHT

Welcome to the best show in town! Niagara Falls’ nightly illumination spectacle transforms the natural wonder into a true rainbow river! Colors flicker and, depending on when you visit, you may even catch a special event display, when the Falls change colors in support of various causes and significant milestones.

STROLL A COLORFUL ALFRESCO GEM: ART ALLEY NF

Looking for a hidden treasure in downtown Niagara Falls, NY? Take the alley off 425 Third St., and discover the most vibrant urban surprise: Art Alley NF. The public mural project features an eclectic slideshow of local street artists. Inspired? Keep exploring the public art scene by checking out these other spots around the county.

HOP ABOARD THE DISCOVER NIAGARA SHUTTLE

The Discover Niagara Shuttle whisks visitors to 15+ top stops on the Falls to the Fort route, weekends only. The buses depart every hour with the Discover Niagara Shuttle app always keeping you in the timetable loop! There’s also free Wi-Fi onboard, allowing you to upload those social media updates on the go.

WALK THROUGH AN OLD-GROWTH FOREST

Just across the Niagara Scenic Parkway from Whirlpool State Park lies another state park called DeVeaux Woods, which is home to 10 acres of old-growth forest teeming with majestic red oaks and fiery sugar maples. A short, easy hike leads you beneath the canopy — it’s spectacular in the fall, and a good glimpse at what the area would have looked like centuries ago. There’s a new bark park at DeVeaux Woods, as well, so feel free to bring your furry friend along!

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